The Board considered a report and presentation of the Strategic Director, Communities which gave an update, from Alison Tonge, Director of Commissioning - Cheshire, Warrington & Wirral Area Team, NHS England, on the development of Vascular Services across Cheshire and Merseyside following the National Clinical Advisory Team’s (NCAT’s) further review conducted in February 2013.
· Highlighted the reasons for the service being reviewed;
· Explained that reviews were underway across England, many had been completed; progress was good locally with an implementation in October 2013;
· detailed out the system before and after the review in respect of leg ulcer treatment, the access and the quality for Halton residents; and
· the future role of Warrington Hospital.
The following comments arose from the discussion:-
· The Board agreed with having a Centre of Excellence for Vascular Services. However, the Board unanimously agreed that the Centre of Excellence being located at the Countess of Chester had failed to take account of the significant social and economic deprivation in Halton and the ageing population. They highlighted that Chester was inaccessible via public transport from Halton, it entailed 2 or 3 changes and these patients would not be able to have any visitors during their stay as it would not be financially viable. In response, it was reported that there was a direct route from Runcorn. However, the Members highlighted that this was via Runcorn East Train Station which was on the periphery of Runcorn and was not accessible to residents in the Borough. It was also highlighted that the evening service was very limited with no bus service supporting it so residents could be stranded at the station. It was emphasised that Halton had the lowest car ownership in the North West and a high percentage of people were also not able to drive;
· It was acknowledged that other clinical and medical services would create centres of excellence in the future. However, it was suggested that a number of vulnerable people in the Borough, who were part of the poverty trap would be severely disadvantaged because they would not have sufficient money to access the services. In response, it was reported that commissioners and hospitals delivering care would work together to find solutions to problems such as transport and the accessibility of services. They would be looking at ensuring improved outcomes, ensuring that there were no local barriers and would reach out to the vulnerable people. It was reported that Councillors would be involved in the transport options/solutions. The Board highlighted that the Council did not provide transport to hospital and did not have any funding to establish such funding;
· It was suggested that Warrington Hospital would not have required a new build if it had been selected as the Centre of Excellence. In response, it was reported that all hospitals required some changes to make them fit for purpose and the more that the network grew the more viable transport solutions would become;
· The importance of early intervention and access to services such as cancer was noted;
· It was noted that the ambition was to keep care as local as possible and only the specialist treatment would be undertaken at the centre, with as short a stay as possible; and
· It was noted that the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening would be rolled out across the Borough this year. It was also noted that further information on this would be circulated to all Members of the Board.
(1) the report, presentation and comments raised be noted; and
(2) Alison Tonge be thanked for her informative presentation.